What teens today are watching is absolutely abhorrent.
Boy, do I sound like I’m 90 years old, or WHAT?
“Back in myyyy day, we had to walk three miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways…without shoes.”
But all jokes aside, I recently watched the hit teen drama, “Euphoria” — starring and produced by Zendaya of Disney Channel and Dancing with the Stars fame.
And all I can say is … wow. And that “wow” is not a good “wow.”
It is terrifying that our young people are being blasted such smut and filth on that show. I mean, it is not even soft core pornography. There are scenes that are just — I often have to close my eyes so as not to be exposed to things I don’t want to see. ((Click here to read my take on porn)).
For starters, the show centers around a recovering/drug abusing high schooler – played by Zendaya – who is trying to put her life back together after overdosing. It follows her tumultuous romantic relationship with her best friend, who is a trans girl — aka, a male who is dressing and living as a female.
So that normalization is already a great start.
Add to that the rampant and explicitly shown sex — some of which violent. One character’s story arch has her becoming a “cam girl” dominatrix AS A HIGH SCHOOLER. And of course, no “woke” show would be complete without a teen pregnancy and her rush to Planned Parenthood for an abortion…and this show was no exception.
There is out of control drug use, binge drinking like you wouldn’t believe — with parental consent, and sometimes participation. There’s domestic abuse. There’s pedophilia, and porn use. There’s theft.
And just on another note…the scandalous clothing that these sixteen year olds are wearing is enough to make you cry. I mean, if my daughter ever walked out of the house donning some of the outfits these girls are wearing….
So why the heck am I watching it, then?
Which is a really good question. Because, frankly I am of the belief that it is best to not support such shows and companies that completely disregard and spit in the face of morality, and are leading to the degradation and corruption of our young people. (We vote with our pocketbooks, right?)
But there are really two reasons.
Number One: I wanted to see what today’s young people are being fed as “normal.” When I was growing up, The OC and One Tree Hill were the “edgy shows” of the time, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you that Marissa Cooper, the lead on The OC, didn’t play a role in my development of anorexia. But that’s a tale for another day.
And Number Two: there actually was one redeeming quality of the show. Which, as hard as this show is to sit through, is the only thing that makes it bearable.
And that is the honesty with which the show portrays addiction: the complete destruction of relationships, of families, of futures, of health, of life.
That is the one thing about the show that good. In that, among all the filth, there is a fleck of a redeeming quality in how it portrays the darkness of addiction.
And as pissed at Zendaya as I am for putting this show out in the world for teens to obsess over…and they do…I’ve gotta give it to her: she’s one heck of an actress.
The precision of her depiction of the darkness that is addiction and the struggle to recover, is so accurate, it’s scary. There were times when I had to pause the show and tell my special gentleman, how I had a situation just like that in my own anorexia story. Which — is different than drug addiction, per se — but anorexia is an addiction none the less, and the two are apples from the same tree.
The rageful blow ups between Zendaya and her mother — those brought back really painful memories of similar episodes in my own life. Ones that spark so much guilt and shame. Ones that I am so grateful to have such forgiving parents and loved ones, who could see that my despicable behavior was not really the real me, but a manifestation of my eating disorder.
Her intervention to go to rehab – that was super truthful. The desperate lengths she’d go to get drugs…I wasn’t going after drugs, but dang, I had been there. Also, the manipulation and deception of people she loves all because of her dependency on drugs — I mean, wow — it was like taking a page out of my book.
But the most real thing of the show, came not from Zendaya’s performance, but rather, something her AA sponsor said to her. In the show, Zendaya, her younger sister, her mother and her sponsor are sitting around the dinner table. Zendaya has just relapsed, and went through drug detox, and now is feeling a little physically better, and has decided that she wants to actually get sober. And her sister expresses her doubt in Zendaya, saying something to the effect of, “I’ve heard this before.”
And I recorded the rest of the conversation, because it was so powerful and hit me hard.
Sister to Sponsor: I mean, you think she’ll get clean?
Sponsor: I don’t know.
Sister: She said it’s like a five percent chance, right?
Sponsor: Something like that.
Sister: Where’s the hope in that?
Sponsor: The hope…is what [Zendaya] has to find.
WOW. That is exactly right.
THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT.
The ONLY WAY to truly recover — whether it’s from anorexia, drug abuse, alcoholism, porn addiction — FINDING THE HOPE is the ONLY WAY to truly recover.
Not hope in yourself. Not hope in the future, or some 12 step process, or a guru’s meditation plan.
Hope. In. Jesus.
Without Whom, her sister is absolutely right…life will be spent in a contant cycle of rehab, relapse, rehab, relapse, rehab, relapse. Because the only thing in this world that we can ever truly rely on for unwavering strength, unwavering support, unwavering follow through — is Jesus.
Real talk, we can’t even depend on that consistency from ourselves. Because we are human, and when temptation comes our way, it doesn’t matter how strong we are, or how airtight we think our recovery is, there is always a chance that we may fail if we’re solely depending on ourselves as our own savior.
Jesus is that hope.
Jesus is that strength.
I would have no recovery without Him. Without His constant presence in my life. Everyday, whispering to me the TRUTH. Strengthening me with His spirit, with His words of strength. Because here’s another hard truth: when it comes to recovery, there will always be that “voice of darkness” in your head that whispers you lies to get you to slip up. It’s the enemy. And in recovery, you work to silence that voice.
For me, the lie that voice tells me is that I am worthless. Unworthy of love. A burden.
For other addicts, their “lies” are different, but each hit the same, in that their purpose is to get you to relapse. To fall back into the darkness of addiction.
And the ONLY way to overcome that — because you cannot silence it on your own, believe me, I’ve tried — is to DROWN IT OUT with Jesus’s voice of Truth. Because His is louder than any garbage the enemy will hurl at you. And the enemy is relentless. But Jesus is stronger.
I know, I’m pretty passionate about this right now, but He saved my life. He rescued me from that pit of darkness, of despair, of hopelessness. And I will never grow weary of shouting from the rooftops how He did just that.
It is my deepest prayer, that somehow, some way, through all the filth and smut portrayed in Euphoria, that God is able to turn the light on in our teens’ minds that drugs are not just fun and party games: but that they can truly destroy your life. And not just your life, but everyone you love.
Drugs are not the glamorous things they’re made out to be. It’s not just a harmless vice a teen experiments with at a party where the parents are out of time.
They have the power to ruin your life. And potentially end it.
I pray that that is what they take away from the show.
Please, God. Please.
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